Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pennant dragonfly

with 33 comments

Click for a larger size and more clarity.

As I walked from one large stand of sunflowers to another two days ago, I noticed a dragonfly perched on a dry stalk on higher ground nearby. I put on my Canon 70–200mm telephoto lens and 1.4x converter to take a series of shots looking somewhat upward at the dragonfly. In this picture I positioned myself in such a way that the insect, which I take to be a pennant dragonfly, appeared against a patch of blue sky rather than against the clouds that you can see in yesterday’s picture of the sunflower colony.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 26, 2011 at 7:10 AM

33 Responses

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  1. Great shot – love the colors and the fine detail.


    June 26, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    • Thanks, Mike. I had to turn off the lens’s autofocus because it kept focusing on the dragonfly’s body or wings rather than its head. I learned and practiced photography with manual-focus cameras, and focusing manually is still sometimes the only way to go.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    • I must say that it is a great shot, the angle makes it great! Phil.


      June 26, 2011 at 7:01 PM

  2. I love taking photos of dragonflies; they can be such a challenge. Yours is a beauty! I just took photos of the same kind of dragonfly this morning; I’ll be posting the pix in my blog this week.

    Texas Susan

    June 26, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    • Thanks, Texas Susan. It’s good to hear from a fellow dragonflyer. Yes, dragonflies can be a challenge to photograph, but I’ve noticed that even when I scare one away, if I sit still it often comes back to the same perch and I can keep on taking pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 10:09 AM

  3. Drool.


    June 26, 2011 at 10:00 AM

  4. The colors are sunflower colors… great composition. I’m used to the blue and purple colored dragonflies that hover over my garden pond.


    June 26, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    • I’m glad you like this “sunflower dragonfly.” I see that you’re in Montana, a place from which I’ve found quite a few nature blogs recently. Welcome to Texas, where there are hundreds of species of dragonflies and damselflies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 1:07 PM

  5. This is an amazing photo. I’m glad I am 5’6″, and not .5″ x .7″…


    June 26, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    • Thanks for enjoying the photo. You’re right to be grateful for being of human size. I’ve seen a dragonfly lunge out, grab a flying insect, and devour it forthwith. Maybe in some future entry I’ll post a picture of that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 4:18 PM

  6. After I have chased butterflies with my camera today, I feel I am just way too slow to catch something winged on file.

    But it is obviously possible. With a lot more patience and expertise than I have.

    The photo has amazing detail and great colours.


    June 26, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    • Glad you like the detail and colors. I’ve found that some insects let you get a lot closer than others. Because I used a telephoto for this picture, I didn’t have to get as close as I would with my 100mm macro lens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 4:22 PM

  7. This is exquisite.


    June 26, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    • Thanks, Kathryn. The picture owes a lot to the veination in the subject’s wings, which is itself exquisite.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 4:28 PM

  8. The details on the wing are amazing! I love the angle, did you get on the ground to catch it in this pose?


    June 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    • I agree: the reticulation in the wings is wonderful. The dragonfly was slightly above my eye level, but I knelt and also sat on the ground to increase the upward angle. Over the years I’ve taken various pictures of dragonflies and damselflies from above and from the side, but I think this was the first time from below.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2011 at 8:34 PM

  9. Nice!


    June 26, 2011 at 11:39 PM

  10. What a unique angle! My first impression was, ‘a dragonfly pole-vaulter?’

    Watching Seasons

    June 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM

  11. Great picture! I love the colors.


    August 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM

  12. This photo is absolutely stunning. The colors and texture showed up brilliantly!


    October 24, 2011 at 2:30 PM

  13. […] a pennant dragonfly […]

  14. Beautiful!

    Jo Woolf

    June 22, 2012 at 7:02 AM

  15. An absolute beauty!


    August 29, 2014 at 9:45 PM

  16. That is a beautiful and clear shot. Thanks for your info.


    September 1, 2014 at 12:54 AM

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